Department of ClassicsUniversity of Cincinnati
Department of Classics

The Program

The Department of Classics offers courses of study leading to the degrees of Master of Arts and Doctor of Philosophy in Classics, with opportunities for specialization in Greek and Latin language and literature, classical and pre-classical archaeology, and Greek and Roman history. Although candidates for the doctorate normally specialize in one of these areas, the individual classical disciplines are interdependent, and control of the entire field is an indispensable prerequisite for specialization.

Students are therefore required to complete a reasonable amount of work in every major field. Recipients of the Doctor's degree are qualified to teach not only a broad range of Classics courses, but also courses in Western Civilization and the interdisciplinary courses. Cincinnati is especially fortunate in this respect because of the inclusion of Ancient History and Archaeology within the Classics Department.

Classical studies have had significant support at the University of Cincinnati from generous patrons. The Semple Classics Fund, a bequest of Mrs. Louise Taft Semple, was established "for promoting the study of the Classics in an endeavor to make vital and constructive in the civilization of our country the spiritual, intellectual, and esthetic inheritance we have received from the Greek and Roman civilization." The ample resources of this fund make it possible to continue the diverse activities of the department. Distinguished scholars are regularly invited to the Cincinnati campus either to deliver lectures or to participate in Semple Symposia. In addition, the department customarily invites authorities in various specialties to address seminars in progress or to talk on their fields of interest to faculty and students.

Students specializing in archaeology have frequently participated as field assistants in excavations or surface surveys carried on or supported by the University of Cincinnati at Troy (1932-39), Pylos (1939-65), on the islands of Keos (1960-), Crete (1971-), and Cyprus (1982-), at Midea (1985-), Troy (1989-2005), in the area of Pylos (1993-), Apollonia, Albania (1998-2006), Episkopi-Bamboula, Cyprus (2001- ), Pompeii (2005-), and Isthmia (2005-).

The graduate course offerings are extensive. Normally a minimum of ten are given each semester. Topics range from Bronze Age Greece to late Roman history, from Homer to later Latin literature. There is also the opportunity to work in other disciplines. Students interested in history or philosophy can take courses offered by the History and Philosophy Departments. Students in archaeology are encouraged to take special courses in the Anthropology Department, and those in literature may also pursue some work in Romance or Germanic languages, or in the Department of English. In addition, students can take courses in Near Eastern studies at Hebrew Union College.
Besides the formal offerings, students can elect to work privately with professors on topics of mutual interest. Such tutorial work is an integral part of the graduate program at Cincinnati.

Degrees Offered


Master of Arts
Candidates for the Master of Arts may take the degree in preparation for the Ph.D. or as a terminal degree. Requirements include the satisfactory completion of at least 30 quarter credit hours of graduate courses, including seminars and courses in Ancient History, Art and Archaeology, and Philology, and (a) the preparation of a thesis, to be defended in a final oral examination or (b) the passing of a comprehensive examination.

Doctor of Philosophy
Candidates for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy are expected to specialize in one of the following programs:
(A) Greek and Latin Language and Literature, (B) Ancient History, (C) Bronze Age Archaeology, or (D) Classical Archaeology.
To qualify for the Ph.D. the student must complete satisfactorily a series of appropriate courses and qualifying examinations, both written and oral. All candidates must demonstrate proficiency in French and German.
Students in programs A and B must pass examinations in Greek and Latin sight reading, examinations in special authors and/or a special field, and comprehensive examinations in Greek and Latin literature and Greek and Roman history. "Paper" does mean not "exam" in American parlance, but a discursive exposition prepared in advance.
Students in programs C and D must demonstrate proficiency either in Greek or Latin. In addition they write papers in (1) Bronze Age archaeology, (2) classical archaeology, and (3) Greek and Roman history. They are also given the opportunity to take part in excavations.

While it is possible for the exceptional student with thorough undergraduate preparation to qualify for the Ph.D. in three years, most students require five years or more. It should be emphasized that the accumulation of high grades in formal courses, while important, is secondary to demonstration of the capacity for original thinking and to the completion of research contributing significantly to the field and effectively presented in the dissertation.

Cincinnati Art Museum Internship

The Cincinnati Classics Department sponsors an internship at the Cincinnati Art Museum, for which graduate students in residence are eligible to apply. The purpose is to provide practical training under the direct supervision of a curator in order to prepare the intern for a career in museum work. The intern receives appropriate graduate credit.

Study Abroad

Graduate students are encouraged to study abroad as part of their program. This may include work in foreign universities, libraries or museums, or at the American School of Classical Studies in Athens or the American Academy in Rome, both of which receive support from the University of Cincinnati, or at other American research centers in the Mediterranean and the Near East.

Fellowships and Assistantships

Graduate students are supported with full tuition scholarships and generous fellowships. Fellowships are normally awarded when a prospective student is accepted for admission. A student who has received a fellowship at the University of Cincinnati and is making satisfactory progress in the program, will normally continue to be supported for five years, with a possibility of extension to seven years if the program of the student requires it.
Students may also acquire teaching experience by holding a University Teaching Assistantship. Holders of such assistantships may either teach their own course or assist a professor.